My studio work often centers around lots of little parts. I linger in the testing phase of a project for a while, reworking each step to streamline the mechanics of producing pieces by the dozens (or hundreds). At the glaze phase of some small pinched forms I recently made, I wanted to be able to consistently and efficiently keep my stable, satin glaze just a hair above the bottom edge of each piece. I tried super-controlled glazing but found the results to be subpar and exhausting, then experimented with a sponge to wipe less carefully glazed bottoms but wasn’t happy with how much glaze this method removed. 

1 Press the bottom of a glazed piece onto a wet kitchen cloth. Rotate the piece to ensure an even wipe.

Hacking the classic carpet-square technique (see Gabriel Kline’s January 2022 Quick Tip), I saturated and squeezed the excess water out of a Trader Joe’s Kitchen Cloth, placed it on a spare plastic lid (to keep everything contained and tidy), firmly pressed the bottom of a loosely glazed piece onto the surface, and rotated it a few times (1). The result was a crisp glaze line that could be repeated every time (2). 

2 Lift to reveal a clean bottom and only slight removal of glaze up the sides.

The key here is the thickness and density of the saturated material. Wet carpet pile will remove glaze to a higher point up the foot of a piece since it is a thick, soft material. The kitchen cloth is comparably thin with a tight composition that grabs glaze only as far up as the cloth is compressed. Although I’ve not had the need to try them, I would be curious to see how flannel (a thinner material than my kitchen cloth), fleece (thicker than kitchen cloth but thinner than carpet), and other materials perform.